UMOM serves thousands of homeless adults and children each year through its continuum of services ranging from Emergency Shelter to Affordable Housing. Many of our families experience tremendous success while they are at UMOM and after they leave. Below are just a few of their stories:
Michelle came to UMOM in 2008 with her 16-month-old daughter, Uriel. Michelle’s diabetes was uncontrolled and she was very sick. Sometimes she wasn’t even able to get out of bed. With the help of the Wellness Center staff at UMOM Michelle was able to receive the medical care and education she needed to better manage her disease. She was also able to get her daughter caught up on immunizations and evaluated for a speech delay.
Michelle began contemplating a career in health care and decided she wanted to go back to college to become a registered nurse. She and Uriel moved into UMOM’s Transitional Living program when Michelle got a part-time job. She worked and went to school while Uriel attended UMOM’s Child Development Center.
Michelle saved up her earnings and in February of 2011 she moved into The Legacy Crossing, on of UMOM’s affordable housing communities. She is now applying to nursing school, working two part-time jobs, and taking care of Uriel, who is a smart and energetic Kindergartener.
Nine months pregnant with her youngest child, Del worried they would have no place to stay when her baby was born. Del and her husband had both lost their jobs, then their home. Sleeping on the floors of friends’ homes with their three other children, they struggled to get back on their feet. Del described that, “We tried everything to stay afloat. I thought I’d find work. I have a good education. But once you slip down the ladder, it’s tough climbing back up.” That is when Del discovered UMOM. They entered the emergency shelter program when her baby was eight days old. Del described the relief of hearing about an opening, “The sound of Roselyn’s voice telling me they had a room ready for my family – I don’t think I have ever been so grateful!”
Upon arriving to UMOM, Del focused on obtaining employment with the help of UMOM’s employment program. Volunteers from a local company conducted mock interviews helped Del prepare for the job search process. That company ended up hiring Del! With a full-time job Del and her family became eligible for the two year transitional housing program. This would give them the time and support to get them back on their feet. Del said, “To this day, I feel blessed that UMOM was there for my family. It was meant to be – I was meant to be here”.
“It’s a combination of everything” Del said. “It is more than the programs they offer, it is the people that run the programs.” The Child Development Center was there for Del as she began her full time job. She had peace of mind knowing her children were well taken care of. She also expressed her gratitude for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Crews’n Healthmobile. The attention and care from Dr. Christiansen gave her young daughter the chance to get healthy and grow into the little girl she is today.
Del was surprised one day when she was driving around town with her children and her oldest son asked, “Mom, why all homeless people are dirty?” She replied, “Are you dirty?” When he said no, she explained, “Honey, we are homeless, not all homeless people are dirty.” Del was so thankful for that question, because it meant that her son didn’t feel like he was homeless. UMOM provided her with services that helped her family feel hopeful during their most vulnerable time. Del said, “UMOM gave my family a safe place to be, a place to heal, a place to change.”
Del is back on her feet again. It is because of Del’s determination and the support from UMOM that she and her family have their very own place to call home.
We first brought you Monica’s story in the Summer 2011 edition of Moments, our bi-annual printed newsletter. We are thrilled to inform UMOM supporters like you that Monica recently participated in the dedication ceremony of her newly renovated Habitat for Humanity home!
After working with through the process of rebuilding her credit with the help of Bank of America and Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix (NHSP), it took her just over a year to pay off her debts and move forward with the process.
To become a homeowner through Habitat for Humanity, Monica was required to provide 100 hours of sweat equity as part of the down payment for her home.
Many hours were spent on the renovation of her own home as well as working at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. In late March Monica and her two children moved into their very own 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath home in Glendale, Arizona!
When asked about how long the process took and how much energy Monica had to put into it she said “it was worth the hard work. Repairing my credit took time, but now I have my own place to call home”.
Advice for others from Monica:
“It takes a lot of hard work & determination there are days where I just wanted to quit but I knew I had to do this for my kids and believe me the smiles on their faces are priceless when they saw the house for the first time. My advice for anyone living in low income housing is you have to start somewhere. Don’t expect things to just be handed to you nothing in life is free. I learned to get what you want in life you have to work hard for it.”
Belinda is a single mom with one teenager at home. She lived at UMOM for two years and then secured low income housing. She is in the Nursing Program pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree through NAU at Glendale Community College and is still an active member in UMOM’s Health Care Career Club. She lives in downtown Phoenix and had her car stolen recently on a Monday night.
Amanda, a single mother of three school-age children, lived at UMOM for two years. She was able to obtain her Massage Therapy license while she was living at UMOM. She is currently pursuing another degree in Alternative Medicine. She is employed and doing well, living in a house in Tempe. While she was living at UMOM, someone helped her when her car broke down and needed repairs in excess of $1,000.00. She felt so blessed and was able to continue her education without missing a step.
When Amanda heard about Belinda’s car being stolen she was devastated for her and felt like she could help pay it forward. Amanda had recently been able to purchase a newer vehicle and wanted to donate her former vehicle to the club. Instead, at the next Health Care Career Club meeting (held the Saturday after Belinda’s car was stolen) Amanda surprised Belinda with the title to her previous vehicle.
Needless to say, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house! This is why the work we all do at UMOM is so important. By showing kindness to our residents when they are in need they can then “pay it forward” for others later!